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Zadok, Zadokites

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The Oxford Companion to the Bible What is This? Provides authoritative interpretive entries on Biblical people, places, beliefs, events, and secular influences.

    Zadok, Zadokites

    Zadok was one of David's two priests (2 Sam. 15.24–29, 36; 17.15; 19.11; 20.25; 1 Chron. 15.11; 16.39; cf. 2 Sam. 8.17; 1 Chron. 18.16; 24.3, 6, 31). He sided with Solomon against Adonijah in the succession struggle late in David's life and anointed Solomon king at David's request (1 Kings 1). As a result, he was the sole chief priest under Solomon, while Abiathar was banished to Anathoth (1 Kings 2.35; 1 Chron. 29.22). Zadok's descendants controlled the priesthood in Jerusalem from this time on until the exile (the chief priest in Hezekiah's time is said to be from the house of Zadok, 2 Chron. 31.10), and in Ezekiel's vision of the restoration, all the priests in charge of the altar are Zadokites (Ezek. 40.46; 43.19; 44.15; and especially 48.11, where Zadokites are separated from other Levites). While there is some controversy about Zadok's origins, his lineage in 1 Chronicles 6.1–8, 49–53 ties him to Aaron through Eleazar, and there is a Zadok from the house of Aaron mentioned as part of David's army at Hebron (1 Chron. 12.27–29; see also Josh. 21.9–13; 1 Chron. 6.54–57), so it would seem that he was an Aaronite priest.

    After the exile, the Zadokites apparently controlled the high priesthood (1 Chron. 9.10–11 and Neh. 11.10–11, with a slightly different genealogy) until the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the second century BCE. The Qumran sect was dedicated to the Zadokite priesthood, as well, and it has been suggested that the name of the priestly Sadducees is derived from Zadok.

    Jo Ann Hackett

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